‘Don’t worry. They won’t leave without us.’ I tell her, but it’s not enough for her to stop looking at the ticking clock. As much as I have traveled, I know that once checked in, they just won’t leave without everyone on board – certainly not leaving behind two of their first class passengers. Even though flight is not yet listed as being delayed, with the mob scene as the Taipei International Airport is that afternoon, not many planes are likely to leave on time. Delayed by an hour or so wouldn’t make much difference, if any to our long haul flight.

To make matters worst, now that we’re in front of the line, I realize that missing from my passport is the departure slip that immigration had handed me upon my arrival. No departure slip, no departing. This makes her even more nervous watching me fumbling into all of my pockets and inside my briefcase and not finding it. I watch her waiting impatiently and irritatingly.

‘Why don’t you go ahead and I’ll catch up with you.’ I tell her. It’s already a few minutes past the departure time.

‘Are you sure?’ She doesn’t want to leave me stranded.

‘Positive. Please go ahead. I promise, the flight wouldn’t leave without me.’ Suddenly I am relaxed and in a playful mood. After all, an international airport is my ultimate stomping ground.

‘Well, okay. I’ll just do that.’ And she is gone.

Now with no one making me nervous, I dig into my pockets some more and out comes the departure slip. I know there are still many passengers booked on our flight waiting for the immigration clearance. I even pop into the duty free shop and take a leisurely walk to the departure gate. When I walk into the cabin, I see Christie well settled at the window seat. I arrange my carry on in the overhead bin and as I am about to sit down, the captain has picked up the microphone.

Ladies and gentlemen, captain speaking. We’re still waiting for many of our passengers in process of clearing the immigration. It may be another half an hour before we push back from the gate. But we should still arrive in San Francisco on time.

Now settled, I give Christie a sideway look. Didn’t I tell you? She is not amazed at my smugness. Soon the stewardess brings us flutes of champagne.

‘No thanks. I’ll have some sparkling water.’ She tries to hide her frown. But still!

‘Come on Christie. Please have champagne. We’ve got a long journey ahead of us.’ I must have looked pitiful as I plead. It pleases me that she picks up a glass of champagne from the tray.

We have a very pleasant journey together and some very good talks. Our different visions for the future of my division, disagreements and all.

© Haresh Shah 2014

Illustration: Celia Rose Marks

OTHER PROFILES

FACE TO FACE WITH GABRIEL GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ

I DANCED WITH DONNA SUMMER

FACE TO FACE WITH JAN CREMER                                                                            

FACE TO FACE WITH HUGH M. HEFNER                                                        

DESIGNING IN HIS DREAMS

Next Friday, May 2, 2014

YET TO BE DETERMINED

Because I am not sure which one of the two posts I am working on right now will be ready to go next week. Or as it often happens, something else will strike my fancy and a sudden inspiration would make it jump the line. Just wait and see.

 

 

 

 

 

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5